Skip to main content
Read all the latest news and announcements from Northern Ireland Opera.

May McFettridge to make her opera debut in ‘Die Fledermaus’ this September

May McFettridge is delighted to announce that, after many, many offers from opera companies all over the world, she will make her operatic debut appearance for Northern Ireland Opera at the Grand Opera House, Belfast.

Following 30 years of performing pantomime, May’s operatic debut is as the role of Frosch the Jailer in Die Fledermaus. Her similarities to Frosch are quite remarkable. Frosch, like May, would be fond of the bottle and usually ends up involved in mishaps and mayhem sprinkled with confusion and bewilderment. The result is pandemonium. Born, dragged up and still living in Belfast, May McFettridge is the greatest and most recognised character act in Northern Ireland and is loved by her public and peers alike.

Artistic Director Walter Sutcliffe commented, “The Bat, in German Die Fledermaus, is the world’s best and most popular operetta. If you love pure luxurious feel good music there is little more uplifting and indulgent than its incredible array of Viennese waltzes that sparkle even more than the champagne its characters are powered by. And, there’s so much more. It’s a brilliant comedy of male paranoia, bringing out the absurdity of man’s egomania and obsessions with sexual potency, conquests and status. In a masterclass of irony, it simultaneously seduces and ridicules us. It may be 145 years old, but its relevance today is probably even clearer than when it was written. Or perhaps it just shows us how little has changed. And if you can’t laugh at yourself then what can you laugh at?”

“Discovering new operatic talent is one of the great privileges of my role with Northern Ireland Opera. And, I think that in bringing May McFettridge to perform opera in the Opera House, Belfast will get a debut as noteworthy as Pavarotti’s here back in 1963. May already has a fantastic 30-year following for her work and we are proud that she has chosen us as the launch-pad for what we are certain will be a remarkable step into the opera world!”

Die Fledermaus, Frosch, NI Opera

May will be joined by Northern Irish baritone Ben McAteer (Eisenstein), who trained at the National Opera Studio in London and on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama opera course. He is a former winner of Les Azuriales Opera prize, the Guildhall School’s English song prize, NI Opera’s inaugural Festival of Voice. In 2018 he sang Marullo in Rigoletto for the company.

County Down soprano Maria McGrann (Adele) is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. Her most recent operatic engagements include the roles of Countess Ceprano Rigoletto (NIO), Madame Herz Der Schauspieldirektor (INO), Cunegonde Candide (Opera in the Open), Musetta La Boheme, Zerlina Don Giovanni and Sandman & Dewfairy Hänsel and Gretel (OITO).

Dresden-born Stephan Loges, who will perform the role of Falke, has given recitals throughout the world, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall, London as well as Carnegie Hall, New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Klavierfestival Ruhr, La Monnaie Brussels, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Santiago de Compostela, BBC Radio 3 and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Northern Ireland Opera is Hiring!

Northern Ireland Opera is Northern Ireland’s national opera company based in the Grand Opera House, Belfast. The company is looking to hire an Artistic Administrator to join the team.

Artistic Administrator (part-time)

Job Description:

Organisation – To help manage (with the General Manager) the day to day affairs of the organisation; to act as the main point of contact between the cast, creative and production teams and the NI Opera Studio (known as the Company) and the NI Opera office for each production or event; to minute all board meetings and team meetings as necessary; to carry out any other administrative tasks as needed.

Company Management – To manage the audition and contracting process for the Company; to work closely with the Company to book accommodation and travel; to distribute production schedules to the Company; to support the Company during their contracted time with NI Opera; to manage the recruitment of a chorus, in conjunction with the General Manager; to perform Front of House duties at performances and events.

Financial Management – To ensure good value for money on travel and accommodation for the Company; to liaise with the NI Opera Bookkeeper for the processing of Company invoices and payments.

Essential Criteria

  • Proven administrative and organisational skills
  • A positive telephone and inter-personal manner
  • The ability to work with enthusiasm, energy, and attention to detail
  • Be able to work well under pressure
  • Experience in financial management and Microsoft Office

Desirable Criteria

  • A university degree
  • Experience in the arts (especially dance, classical music, opera or theatre)

Terms and Conditions

  • The contract will start in week commencing 27th May 2019
  • The part-time hours will be 17.5 per week and the salary will range from £8-10K depending on experience


To apply please send a detailed CV with a cover letter to by Friday 17th May 2019. 

Interviews will take place in the Grand Opera House on Thursday 23rd May 2019.

Northern Ireland Opera Chorus Audition: last call

Northern Ireland Opera are holding auditions for the chorus of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (The Bat), taking place in September 2019 in Belfast.

We are looking for sopranos, altos, tenors and basses. Candidates must be 16 or over. Auditions will take place in Belfast on Wednesday 27th March. Candidates should prepare an aria of their choice.

To apply please send your CV to by 5pm on Friday 22nd March.

For further details, please contact the Northern Ireland Opera office by email at, or by phone on 028 9027 7734.

NI Opera presents Inspire with charity gala donation.

Northern Ireland Opera were delighted to present Regina Cox of Inspire with  £2,746 raised through the charity gala reception held for the opening night of Rigoletto in September 2018. Our guests made a donation to the charity as part of their ticket to the event, and circulated with the stars of the show at the black tie event following the performance of Rigoletto at the GOH.

Inspire is the largest and longest established independent charity focusing on mental health and wellbeing services in Northern Ireland. At the core of Inspire’s services is the community based support it provides to people who have had experience of mental illness.

Inspire commented:

‘The money generously donated by Northern Ireland Opera will be used to expand the anti-stigma message to young people across Northern Ireland. As part of our  campaign ‘Change Your Mind’, Inspire will be focusing on raising awareness of mental health issues among young people. We are planning to pilot this scheme in schools, sports groups, youth clubs and community groups over the next year in the North Down & Ards area. The plan will be to eventually roll this out across Northern Ireland.  The campaign will involve placing Inspiration Points in these venues with information on mental health issues which relate directly to young people: managing exam anxiety, talking openly about mental health concerns, how to deal with cyber bullying. They will also provide signposting to suitable services. As part of this campaign we will also deliver mental health first aid training to teachers, support staff, coaches and community leaders.’

Northern Ireland Opera are proud to be able to have supported Inspire with this key campaign.  Working with other charities like Inspire through our outreach work is an important part of our mission.  As well as raising money through the gala, during the course of our run of Rigoletto we were able to work in partnership with the Grand Opera House to involve 1200 participants from more than 50 different charities, community groups, schools and organisations across 21 events.  These included tours, talks, empowerment workshops, a community dress rehearsal performance and a ‘Come and Sing’ event.

If you’d like to find out more about Inspire, please follow this link:

Our next charity gala event will be on Sunday 15th September: details and tickets here:

You can find out more about our outreach and education activities here:


Charity fundraiser
Gala fundraiser for NI Hospice and Inspire at Rigoletto opening night.

Northern Ireland Opera Studio 2019/20: Applications now open.

The Northern Ireland Opera Studio is a comprehensive performance and training programme designed to nurture aspiring talent and showcase up-and-coming singers from across Ireland.

The NI Opera Studio is at the heart of the company’s mission to develop emerging operatic talent. For twelve months, up to six promising singers based on the island of Ireland become affiliated artists of the company and are given the opportunity to hone their skills while receiving professional support at a transitional stage in their careers. At the centre of the programme are its studio-scale productions of diverse operatic repertoire. This approach recognises the invaluable contribution of stage experience and collaborative work with creative teams to a singer’s professional career trajectory. The participants also take part in a rigorous, high-quality training scheme including coaching by some of the best vocal tutors in Europe; masterclasses led by opera singers of international stature; stage craft workshops with the NI Opera Artistic Director; language coaching; audition training; resilience training and career advice. Crucially, the Studio also contributes to NI Opera’s outreach activities. Members are not only involved in creating and leading interactive workshops with children, but also perform newly devised or commissioned pieces for young audiences.

Northern Ireland Opera is committed to aid its Studio cohorts in forging useful and sustainable professional relationships within the sector. Many past and current members of the Studio programme also continue to play an important role in the company’s artistic output.

NI Opera Studio

Studio Activities
• Regular performances of Studio productions in venues throughout Northern Ireland
• Performances in recitals and at events throughout the year
• Master classes and vocal coaching by some of the industry’s leading professionals
• Language coaching
• Stage craft workshop and audition training
• Resilience training
• Outreach activities
• Opportunity to be involved in NI Opera main-stage productions

Eligibility Criteria
• The programme is open to singers who are interested in pursuing a career in opera and would benefit from further educational opportunities
• Participants must be aged between 21 to 35 when the programme starts in September 2019 and domiciled* in Ireland by 20th May 2019. i.e. by the time you apply and for the duration of the programme.
*You are domiciled in the country where you have your permanent home – domicile is distinct from nationality or residence and you can only have one domicile at any given time. For more information, please consult your Inland Revenue website – /*

Application Details
Email a CV and cover letter stating how the Studio would be valuable to you for the attention of Dafydd Hall Williams, General Manager (maternity cover), Northern Ireland Opera, at by 5 p.m. on 20th May 2019. We would welcome applications from Northern Irish candidates.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an audition and short interview in Belfast on Tuesday 4th June 2019; for more details call the Northern Ireland Opera office on 028 9027 773

More information about the NI Opera Studio programme here:

Watch NI Opera Studio 2017/18 member Dawn Burns talk about her experience on the programme.